A 3-Step Process for Painless Keyword Research

Beth Hayden @ CopyBlogger has a great post I’d like to share with you…

Keyword research is one of the most important types of research you’ll do throughout your content marketing career. It’s also one of the most difficult.

In this series, we’ve already discussed the fact that research isn’t sexy, glamorous, or fun. We’ve also talked about how you need to do research consistently — just like you need to work out in a consistent manner in order to see the real physical fitness results you want.

But there’s something particularly arduous about conducting keyword research. Many of the tools available are confusing and counter-intuitive. We don’t know what we’re supposed to be looking for, and we often don’t have a system in place for how to do keyword research effectively.

But, in putting this series together, I took a very close look at the process of keyword research, and I realized that there’s a better way to find the keywords I needed for my work … without tears, gnashing of teeth, or the desire for hard alcohol.

I always seem to get lost in the data of keyword research. I feel like all of the information I find is incredibly important, and I can’t figure out what to focus on and what to ignore.

Sometimes I make a half-hearted effort to research the keywords I should use in my content, then get aggravated and toss my lists aside in favor of doing less frustrating work.

In the next two posts of this research series, I’m going to give you the solution to your keyword research woes. I’ll teach you …

  • How to stay focused when doing your research
  • How to avoid getting bogged down in the stuff that doesn’t matter
  • How to take a shortcut that will save you tons and time and energy

Let’s get started…

Get focused on your goal

Your goal when conducting keyword research is to identify the topics that matter most to your target audiences, and then discover the exact language they use when they search for information and discuss their questions on social networking sites.

To reach that goal, you need a simple, effective system for keyword research. Follow these three steps to clear up the fog of procrastination and confusion that surrounds the process of finding target keywords for your content.

Full story at: A 3-Step Process for Painless Keyword Research | Copyblogger

Discovering the exact language people are using is the key to aligning your writing with the value demands of your target audience. You may want to elevate your status by calling yourself a ‘purveyor of fine previously owned automobiles’ but the target audience is just looking for a good used car. If you don’t discover what people are looking for and bring your message into alignment, you’re whistling in the dark! Get a grip by following the link and reading the rest of Beth’s perspective. I’m always here to help, too! Comment below or connect with me so we can talk about how this applies to you and your situation…

25 Blogging Tips for Newbies and Veterans

Goins, Writer via 25 Blogging Tips for Newbies and Veterans.

Image representing Joost de Valk as depicted i...
Joost de Valk of Yoast

Content marketing — posting relevant content to this blog — is the way I have done Search Engine Optimization [SEO] in the past. Thanks to my Search Engine Optimization [SEO] bff Ronnie Binser of Video Leads Online, I’m now focusing on doing Search Engine Optimization [SEO] ‘on purpose’ instead of by accident…

For a long time, I have depended on WordPress to do my Search Engine Optimization [SEO] organically without a lot of intentional effort on my part. Most bloggers know that WordPress has an excellent reputation for naturally producing great Search Engine Optimization [SEO] results. At the beginning of the year, however, I decided to become much more intentional about my brand online and decide what topics I really wanted to dominate online and go after them intentionally. That’s where Ronnie stepped in…

Ronnie helped me see how I could use keywords intentionally in my writing. He also gave me some insights into Panda — Google’s search engine algorithm — that really helped me get a grip on Search Engine Optimization [SEO] for content marketing.

Don’t get me wrong — WordPress is great — but in order to do Search Engine Optimization [SEO] on purpose instead of by accident, it needs some help. I found that WordPress is great, but if I want my content marketing to be effective and get me found for the things I want to be found for [wow, that was a tortured phrase] I’ve got to be more intentional.

Sooo. Here’s what I’m working on now…

  • Learning from a smart guy like Ronnie who knows Search Engine Optimization [SEO] cold
  • Using a plugin like InboundWriter that forces me to align my WordPress writing with my Search Engine Optimization [SEO] objectives
  • Evaluating a Search Engine Optimization [SEO] plugin like Yoast that will rock my Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and take it to the next level

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in this area — I’m just a ‘seeker’ — but I’m happy to share the good stuff I found this week via Storify…

<script src="

Saturdays are about Search Engine Optimization [SEO] at e1evation, llc

Saturdays are about Search Engine Optimization [SEO] at e1evation, llc

http://storify.com/e1evation/search-engine-optimization-seo-trends-for-this-wee.js”>%5B<a href="

Saturdays are about Search Engine Optimization [SEO] at e1evation, llc

Saturdays are about Search Engine Optimization [SEO] at e1evation, llc

http://storify.com/e1evation/search-engine-optimization-seo-trends-for-this-wee&#8221; target=”_blank”>View the story “Search Engine Optimization [SEO] trends for this week 2/4/2012” on Storify]

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Image representing HubSpot as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

HubSpot has some great thoughts on building online authority that I’d like to share with you…

When someone talks about achieving online authority, what do they mean? And why are so many marketers and business owners fighting to be the online authority in their industry?

Being an online authority essentially means you’re not only a thought leader on a specific topic, but that you’ve also taken the time to translate that knowledge in a meaningful way online. And if you’re a business owner, you’ve gone about it in such a way that search engines see it, your prospects and customers recognize it, and as a result, it helps you generate customers and revenue.

It makes sense: People do business with the people they trust. And putting yourself out there, giving your brand a personality, and taking the time to present research, updates, and opinions that help your prospects and customers is how trust is earned. People used to do it in person; they still do, but now their reach can be extended by thousands and even millions by doing it online, too.

As it turns out, one of the easiest methods of doing all this is through content creation. It’s how people and search engines find you and determine your relevance; over time, the cream rises to the top. If you’re trying to build your online authority — like most smart marketers are — these are the ways you can use content to get the job done.

Source: 11 Ways to Use Content to Build Online Authority

My favorite is #11; ‘be a credible resource’. I’m not a great writer – in fact, I’d rather talk than write. I love SoundCloud and YouTube as a means of expressing myself. The problem is, Google doesn’t search for pretty or sounds good so I use curation as a means of drawing people into my site to view my original content. Go to the source if you’d like more of HubSpot’s perspective – comment or ‘connect’ to discuss how this applies to you and your organization…

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a chart to describe the search engine market
Image via Wikipedia
Concerned about best practices for search engine optimization [seo]?

The primary goal of your search engine optimization (SEO) is to drive relevant people that are interested in your industry or company to your website.  If you follow SEO than you know how fast things change.  You also know how hard it can be to keep all with these changes.

SEO is actually a relatively simple technique that requires small changes based on major changes the search engines announce. I bold major changes because the changes really need to be major to affect your overall website rankings and SEO strategy.

Here are nine SEO techniques that you should always follow regardless of the changes the search engines are continuously making.

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’re interested in learning more…

social media, bloggingBlogging and Search Engine Optimization? Consider this… 

A great idea: That’s what inspires most to start their own blog. But no matter how great your idea is and how well-written or visually pleasing the blog is, no one will read it if they can’t find it. Search engine optimization for bloggers is often as elusive as the Philippine Eagle is for birders. But Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing told the audience at BlogWorld & New Media Expo that SEO doesn’t has to be that elusive — and with the right formula, one can propel his blog from Page 15 of Google’s search results to Page 1.The first secret to having a successful blog is being specific in your blog’s topic. Finding that niche community for your blog is important to set it apart from other blogs. This will also assist in SEO as well. Odden recommends the following to dominate search engine results…

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to get 7 ideas on search engine domination. Comment or ‘connect’ to discuss how this applies to you and your organization…

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

Here are 4 great ways to find rss feeds for Google Reader

  1. Use the ‘add a subscription’ button in Google Reader to search for great content…
  2. Search for great content using Alltop and add their feeds to your Google Reader account…
  3. Click the rss feed icon on any page and add it to Google Reader…
  4. Search for specific content using Google Alerts and add the feed to Google Reader…
  5. Add your own great ways in the comments!

I’m a firm believer in the power of Google Reader to consume and publish great content — use the search box to find other things I’ve written about it. If you have questions do like Donna did and give me a call — I’ll be happy to show you how it all fits together…

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…and use Google Apps! I had a chat with a business owner yesterday who was still using a pop mail account to run his business — scheduling meetings with his partners is a nightmare! Enter Google Apps! Here’s a quick overview…

Contact me! I’ll be happy to talk you through it because your organization needs Google Apps, too…

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A client asked me what is the best way to include pdfs in WordPress. Since I really hadn’t thought about that for awhile, I asked the smartest WordPress guy I know what he does. He answered “I like to upload to the media library, grab the URL link and then link to it in the post. More work but better control over appearance and such.” Now I’m sure that works fine, but for now, I’m going to use Scribd [an example of which you see below]. Me? I’m always thinking ‘home bases and outposts’ [use the search box] so Scribd makes perfect sense for me. If I post my pdf there and copy the embed code here, not only do I get some powerful viewing tools [full screen, print, etc.] someone my find my blog because they found my document in Scribd…

Here’s his approach:

Here’s Scribd:

Either way works — which one is more effective depends on your objectives but I’m biased toward being ‘social’ and Scribd helps me accomplish that objective nicely. Questions? Feedback? Leave a comment or use the contact page to reach me…

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In December of last year, I embarked upon an experiment to see if I could leverage a website with a blog combined with social media tools to increase traffic to a site. In that month, my sandbox site had a grand total of 670 pageviews. In the month that ended yesterday, I had a total of 15,985 — an approximate 25 fold increase in traffic! This morning I got 670 pageviews by 10:00. Here are some other statistics… Continue reading “Is your website a ‘billboard in the desert’?”

Here are a few ideas to help you along…

“Starting a new blog can feel like an overwhelming task. Not only does it involve either developing your own template (or finding a free one), creating interesting content that people will want to read, and making the blog SEO optimized, but once you’re finished developing that amazing new blog, you need to somehow get people to start visiting.

With millions upon millions of websites on the Internet, and with potentially hundreds of thousands focused on the same subject or niche that you are – developing an audience can feel even more overwhelming than trying to start a blog from scratch in the first place.” How To Start A Blog That Gets Instant Traffic

Go to the source and read the entire article — it’s worth it…

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Image representing Alexa as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

I have a lot of preconceived notions about blogging and one of them is that blogs drive traffic to your site, especially if you update them on a regular basis. Along comes HubSpot — one of the best social media sites on the internet — with a great blog post about websites and blogs and what a blog adds to your business. The HubSpot content was difficult to bring into this post in a way that made sense so I encourage you to go to the site and read the whole article — it only takes a minute or two — but it demonstrates in a graphic way why blogging is good for business…

I’ve seen this happen in a very graphic way in my own political blog. By using tools that update search engines and drive content into social media, my blog continues to rise in the rankings. Last week for example I was ranked 7th most influential in the State of Wisconsin and my one week Alexa ranking average was 1,077,607 in the world — not bad for a little political blog!

What’s my secret? I use WordPress to custom design websites that have blogs and use blogging combined with a well thought out strategy using search engine optimization and social media. You can check out some of my projects here. If you’ve got a point that you’d like to get across, I’d love to show you how you can do the same things I do easily and economically!

Isn’t blogging for 40 year old political malcontents living in their parent’s basement? Not at all. Smart companies are using blogging as the glue to bring their internet content together and drive their social media outposts. Late last year, I wrote…

“Here’s the real payback, however, and the real reason why these corporations do it: HubSpot says that companies that blog get 55% more visitors, have 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages [which are valuable from a search perspective]. Better yet, customers who are engaged by a corporate blog and social media spend 30% more than their disconnected counterparts, according to MarketingSavant Dana VanDen Heuvel…” Source: Why a company must have a blog… | e1evation, llc

For those who are skeptical, read on…

“With tens of millions of blogs online today, major corporations have started to recognize the value of a corporate blog for communicating with customers. However, corporate blogging is far different than the more traditional blogging that most of us encounter on a daily basis. Corporate blogging brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities that must be considered and addressed by the company in order for its users to have a positive experience.

…Probably the most significant reason for companies to manage a corporate blog is the communication benefits it can provide. As a higher percentage of the population uses the Internet for researching and buying products and services, companies can often benefit from having a more direct line of communication with customers and potential customers.” Source: Corporate Blog Design: Trends And Examples – Smashing Magazine

According to the source, the five reasons why companies should blog are:

  • Communication with customers and the public
  • Demonstration of corporate responsibility
  • Reputation management
  • Promotion of products and services
  • Provide executives and/or employees the chance to communicate openly

To this I would also add…

  • Search engine optimization
  • Public promotion

If you want to read more, go to the source. In the meantime, I’m going to post a couple of examples of great corporate blogs to illustrate these points. Here they are in no particular order…


The GM Fastlane Blog is a great example of corporate blogging because GM has clearly realized that regurgitating press releases is not what blogs are made for. GM talks a lot on their blog about their cars and trucks and the design choices they make while creating them, but they also throw in interesting treatises on current hot-button issues, such as alternative energy.” Source: 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging

Social media maven Dell…

“Though Dell’s corporate blog rarely strays from Dell-centric news, the company posts with a great conversational voice, often breaks news on their blog (which keeps people coming back), and listens and responds to customers. Dell also posts regularly (1-2 posts per day at least) which keeps content fresh and encourages repeat visits.” Source: 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging


“The great collection of blogs from computer maker Lenovo demonstrate that the company really understands blogging. Lenovo intersperses posts about its product line with musings about business, design, life, and technology. Definitely don’t miss the Design Matters blog, which should be a must-read for any designer.” Source: 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging

Amazon Web Services…

“What could be more dreary than commoditized data processing and storage services? While that might sound boring, the AWS Blog does a great job of highlighting cool things that are done on top of Amazon Web Services. Lately they’ve put up posts about how AWS are being used by the New York Times to provide online access to 150 years of archives and by the little ShareThis widget that you’ve probably seen on hundreds of thousands of blogs around the web. Lots of charts, graphs and other fun stuff for nerds on this blog.” Source: Nine Company Blogs That Are Fun For Anyone to Read

And the list goes on. imho, smart companies will use this tool as part of what I call a ‘Perry Como’ approach to PR [you know “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween]. Looking for more? I suggest the Alltop list of corporate blogs

Questions? Feedback? Leave a comment, call or contact me so we can discuss how this applies to your business…

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John Jantsch
Image via Wikipedia

John Jantsch recently wrote on the topic of “Profiting from other people’s content”. He says…

“Don’t be alarmed by that title — I’m not talking about stealing content for gain, I’m talking about adding the filtering and aggregating of content to your content consumption, creation and sharing routine.

Pretty much everyone has bought into the idea that they need to produce lots of valuable content in order to build the trust and search engine eyes of today’s online prospect. One way to supplement your content strategy while still providing lots of value, is to get good at finding and filtering other people’s content that your prospects and customers will find useful as well. (Done right, the other people will thank you for giving a wider audience to their content).

It should go without saying that giving credit to the original source and full attribution to the author when appropriate is a must.” Source: Profiting From Other People’s Content | Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

John talks about his “consumption, creation and sharing routine” — my mantra is ‘listen, publish, promote’ which is a little more elegant in my book but we’re both trying to say the same thing and use an alliteration in the process. If I were John, I might go for ‘consume, create, communicate‘ — in fact, I might start using that instead. Either way, the point is that gathering good content effectively and commenting on it is a great way to build your personal brand. I’ve been using this strategy for years — most recently, I amped it up by using Posterous [another tool that John advocates] and saving more content directly to my blog instead of shared bookmarks as I used to do. Here are the results:

I think the results are really quite good for an ‘army of one’, don’t you? I do all my ‘creation and communication’ as a result of my daily ‘consumption’ — because my system is easy to implement and use, I work it frequently. I call quoting other sites ‘curation’ and my rare original thoughts ‘creation’. The curation works to draw people to my creation. Does it work? You betcha [you’re reading this, aren’t you?]. The average person drawn into my blog through effective communication reads 3.3 pages and spends 2:52 minutes on the site, while only 4.75% ‘bounce’ to another site. Over 71% are new visitors…

Jantsch goes on to give three tactical implementations of his ‘profiting from content’ suggestion. They are…

Make yourself a better resource

Creating a habit of filtering content related to your industry, products, competitors and customers will make you better at what you do, allow you to keep up with trends and give you data to help you build deeper relationships with customers.

Share content to draw attention

Pointing out useful resources and good finds is a great way to build your social media and blog followings. Consistently sharing relevant links and sharing them on Twitter is a strategy that many find helps them be seen as follow worthy. Creating a once a week blog post roundup of good stuff is a great way to add content and keep readers engaged.

Filter personalized content

A more advanced strategy is to use your filter skills to create your own industry research briefs. If you specialize in several market niches you can create laser specific new pages and email newsletter roundups that feature the best of what you find each week. You can even use RSS technology to deliver dynamically changing web content password protected for your best clients.” Source: Profiting From Other People’s Content | Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

Clearly, John and I share a lot of the same ‘common sense’. He goes on to list 10 different resources [you can follow the link] you can use as tools to find other people’s content. One of them — Kurrently — is one I’ll have to add to my toolkit. For me, however, this is where we part ways. My paradigm is “Google Reader is the answer. Now what is the question?“.

I use Google Reader like a tactical nuke. It’s the one tool I use to manage the ‘rest of the internet’ and I use it like a virtual newspaper or better yet, news bureau, where I manage hundreds of little newsbots that do my news aggregation for me. I have 5 great ways to get relevant content into Google Reader and they include most of John’s 10 tools — it’s just that in my book, Google Reader is the one tool that rules them all. It really is the driver in my ‘e1evation workflow’ outlined below. Either you get it and you can use it or I can help you implement it but the point is that if you have a brand and you want to build it online, we can help…

via blog.hubspot.com. If you’re concerned about Search Engine Optimization [SEO], you’ll want to follow the ‘via’ link to drill down on these findings from HubSpot

How To Create Link Bait Content

LINK BAIT - Tsavo Media
Image by Somewhat Frank via Flickr

Throughout my blogging career, I’ve worked hard on my writing style. I’ve improved over time, and I’m at a point now where I believe I have perfected my ability to write link bait articles. A link bait article is an article that makes many readers want to reference it within their articles, or link to it as a general resource.

The thing I love about link baiting is that it allows your blog to build some quality backlinks and increase search rank over time. It also means additional targeted traffic is attracted to your blog, which can mean more subscribers. Let’s see how you can start writing such articles, and increasing your presence on the web.

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’re interested in learning more…

How To Provide Attribution in the Blogging World

John Maxwell Speaks at Grand Nationals
Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Though the Internet has no set guidelines for how to provide attribution, one rule is clear: Links are the currency of the Web.

If you use someone else’s content, whether licensed directly or through fair use, it is important to be sure to provide a clickable link to the original site if at all possible. This not only helps visitors to your site find the original work, but also provide SEO benefits for the creator of the content and guards against your site from being mistaken by the search engines as the original work.

With that in mind, let us take a look at several common situations many bloggers find themselves in and the way most feel is appropriate to attribute them.

  1. Quoting: If the original work is part of a larger work, for example block quoting part of another article, an inline link is usually all that is required. Typically, when inline linking, you mention the person’s name and/or the site they write for and link to the original article. This can be done very easily in any blogging application and takes only seconds to do.
Go to the source of the quote here: blogherald.com

Many of my students ask me about my curation style. My understanding is based on articles like the one I quoted here. To date, only two people have ever complained about being quoted on my blog; John Maxwell and an obscure blogger from South Dakota. With over 2,700 posts I’m satisfied that I’m compliant with internet standards. Questions? Feedback?

6 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

a chart to describe the search engine market
Image via Wikipedia

In an earlier article, I talked about the importance of blogging and search engine rankings. However, once you’ve got the blog up and running, the next thing to do is to start optimizing your posts for the search engines. Although search engine optimization (SEO) can be overwhelming to the newcomer, once you understand a few basic concepts, you’ll soon find it’s really not that difficult.

Good SEO copy and a search engine–optimized website accomplish three things:

  1. They’re easy for the search engines to read
  2. They’re easy for the target audience to find
  3. They’re easy for people to read

Everything you do to optimize a post is based around those three basic concepts.

So with that in mind, here are six things you can do to optimize your website or blog posts for the search engines

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go directly to the source to get the whole story if you’d like to get the 6 ways…

Blogging is the answer. Now, what is the question?

My business website is one of the most visited sites in Wisconsin, outranking websites with much bigger brands, more popular products, and bigger marketing staffs. How do I do it all by myself? The short answer is that I blog. The longer answer is that I have a documented workflow that anyone can use to drive traffic to their website and value proposition and it’s driven by email and bookmarking – two skills that almost everyone has mastered in this new millennium…

Now I don’t know a whole lot about search engine optimization or SEO – if that’s what you’re after, you want to call my friends at Envano. I do know however, that if you use the right tools and process, there’s a natural SEO that occurs through frequent posting. That ‘right tool’ is a blog…

“B2B blogging experts understand that a blog is a lead generation machine. This blog generates more traffic than our main company website. Each month, tens of thousands of people find this blog through search engines and social media websites, and thousands of them like the content enough to take the next step and respond to one of our offers and become a lead.

Some B2B bloggers think a business blog is just about thought leadership. Yes, B2B blogging is great for thought leadership and brand building. But, with this blog we get all the benefits of thought leadership, and also get lots of leads. By maximizing the lead generation potential of your B2B blog, you can have your cake (thought leadership) and eat it too (leads).” Source: How to Turn a Blog into a B2B Lead Generation Machine

There are options to consider whether you have a website or not. The first situation may actually be easier to resolve, depending on how much you want your new blog to resemble your existing website. I used to be a real stickler on this, but as time has gone on, I’ve become less concerned about matching the exact look and feel of the site [just know there are options for you regardless of your perspective] and more concerned about just driving traffic.

It’s an easy thing for me to add a blog to an existing site that will drive traffic using my ‘e1evation workflow’. From a design perspective, it’s much easier to just start from scratch using WordPress – a blogging platform that offers blogs that are already integrated with websites – but starting from scratch begs the issue of how you will populate the other pages on your site with information about your brand and products…

The bottom line is that whether you have an existing website or not, there are a couple of “good, fast, and cheap” solutions that are available to you. If you’re trying to figure out how you can add blogging and social media to your already overflowing plate and still get home for supper, comment, call or contact me — I’d love to show you how…

Ummm. Helloooooo!?

This is why they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The Oatmeal has communicated volumes about how the world perceives your email with one image:

You can move to the top with one simple tool: Google Apps! Google Apps allows you to attach Gmail and other powerful business apps to your internet domain in about 10 minutes… 

Use it if you don’t want the world to think you’re a Yahoo!

Start a Blog at WordPress.com.

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